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Five Web sites that turn your used electronics into money

Use one of these five Web sites to turn your used electronics into cash, perhaps helping to fund your iPad 3 purchase.

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Photo by Jason Cipriani/CNET
Photo by Jason Cipriani/CNET

With the announcement of the iPad 3 right around the corner, a lot of people are going to be getting rid of their ancient iPad 2 to help fund their purchase of a pristine iPad 3. Rick Broida already told us how to get top dollar for the iPad 2 and Dan Ackerman filled us in on how to get the most for an iPad trade-in. (Remember to delete your personal data before selling an iPad.) But, what about those used electronics you have lying around that haven't been touched in days?

I rounded up five sites where you can trade in used electronics for cash or gift cards. Here they are in no particular order.

Amazon Trade-In
Amazon Trade-In accepts more than just electronics; it accepts books, video games, movies and electronics. This is also a great way to get rid of those old college textbooks you held onto just in case.

You'll need to have an Amazon account and be able to accurately describe the condition of what you would like to trade in. After locating the product you wish to send in, and describing its condition, you will then be given a value. Once you ship back the item, at Amazon's expense, and they have time to ensure the item is as you described, your Amazon account is credited with an Amazon Gift card for that amount. If the item is in better condition than you described, Amazon promises to give you the higher value.

Your gift card is usually available within two business days after Amazon receives the item(s).

The drawback with the Amazon program is that your money is locked to your Amazon account.

Best Buy Trade-In
Best Buy Trade-In accepts the trade-in of just electronics. Getting a quote is as simple as picking a product category, manufacturer, model, and condition. Once you have filled out the questionnaire to satisfaction, you will be given an offer. The offer amount, if you choose to accept it, will only be awarded as a Best Buy gift card.

You can either ship the item to Best Buy using a prepaid label, or find a local store that is capable of doing trade-ins in the store.

As with Amazon, the drawback with Best Buy is that your money is locked into spending it with Best Buy. Also, the turnaround time of getting your gift card issued is a bit longer than Amazon, coming in at 10 business days after receiving and reviewing your item(s).

Nextworth accepts a long list of electronic devices. You can see if you have an eligible item by searching the site. You will need to answer a short list of questions about the item and you will then be presented with an offer.

Once you tally up your item(s) and accept any offers made, you can select a payment method. Unlike the Best Buy or Amazon services, with Nextworth you can select to get a check, PayPal deposit, or Target gift card for your items. Finally, a service that gives you choices!

You ship the items to Nextworth on their dime, or you can go to your local Target store to trade them in, getting instant credit (via a Target gift card, naturally.)

A drawback with Nextworth, should you choose to ship your items in, is that it can take 10 business days after the initial inspection for Nextworth to initiate your payment. Notice, that doesn't mean 10 days for you to receive your payment; 10 days for the payment process to be initiated.

Gazelle follows the same pattern as the previous services, allowing the trade-in of various electronic devices. Again, you provide Gazelle with an honest description of the device(s), and you will be presented with an offer.

Gazelle allows you to choose from an Amazon gift card, PayPal payment, or a check. You can expect payment from Gazelle within a week of receiving your item.

Gazelle's prices were a bit on the low side when calculating the value of an iPad 2 and comparing those values to the other services in this post.

eBay Instant Sale
eBay Instant Sale is a quick way of getting rid of old electronics, even if they don't work. By following the same process as before, you are able to answer some questions about the condition of your used device to receive an offer. eBay will pay for the item to be shipped in, and then evaluate it once it has been received.

If your item is as described, you can expect a deposit into your PayPayl account for the quoted amount within five business days.

While being limited to PayPal may seem like a drawback, if you have a PayPal debit card your money is as close as an ATM.

All five of these sites are valid options for getting some money for your used stuff, whether it's just to have some extra cash in your pocket at the end of the day, or to help fund your latest gadget obsession. Each site has its own ups and downs. Compare each site based on the item you want to sell and then make a decision based off of that. Even if one site locks your money into a service, you may end up getting more (and getting it faster) for your item by going that route.